A highly sensitive person (HSP) is someone who has increased central nervous system sensitivity to physical, emotional, or social stimuli. To a highly sensitive person, feelings of dread, discomfort, or distraction induced by sounds, smells, lights, fabrics, and more are very real. Emotions also tend to be felt more deeply, and empathy is second nature. If avoiding rooms based on noise levels or becoming uncomfortable around strong smells sounds familiar, this could be you. According to Verywell Mind, here are some signs you may be a highly sensitive person.
Many of us can feel overwhelmed when we have a long day ahead, but a highly sensitive person can have an especially hard time with this – and may fold under pressure. Tight and conflicting deadlines can have a significant impact. Since highly sensitive people tend to approach tasks methodically, things can build up. This is where the extra stress comes in.
Rude = Blues
Small social interactions run our lives – a hello, a smile, or holding the door for a stranger. Most of us can brush off an unpleasant exchange, but a highly sensitive person can feel genuinely hurt by a rude stranger. Since they tend to examine the world more deeply and consider the impact of every action, it feels personal when others don’t do the same.
Highly sensitive people do not often thrive in busy environments, as crowds tend to feel annoying or overwhelming. A loud concert, sports stadium, or packed club can be far too much stimulation for a sensitive nervous system. To outsiders, highly sensitive people are often seen as introverted, as they often require a place to retreat and time spent alone to recharge.
The Sounds of Chewing
Most of us don’t notice the stranger next to us on the train loudly chewing a piece of gum. But a highly sensitive person can get fixated on it. Things like slurping or tapping can be impossible to tune out in a sensitive processing center.
Has someone ever made a joke at your expense? Were you able to laugh it off and move on? A highly sensitive person can be hurt by it. Highly sensitive people tend to be empathetic and consider what their words will do to others. So when someone around them makes a distasteful joke, it can feel like that person knew it would hurt but said it anyway.
Overly Sensitive to Smells
If someones perfume or cologne causes you physical discomfort or mental distress, you might be a highly sensitive person. Things like air fresheners or household cleaners can also smell even more intense to those with sensitive sensory systems.
If you resonate with many of these areas, you might be a highly sensitive person. And there’s nothing wrong with that! There are many resources to help highly sensitive individuals cope with some of the symptoms – and get support from other HSPs.
Are You Highly Sensitive? Take the test here.